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On my first visit to China some 15 years ago, a colleague taught me a lesson I’ve remembered to this day.

In China, you must order a “cold” beer otherwise, you’ll get a beer that’s been sitting around outside, which in the winter means you might get a cold one, but not in summer!

Thus, you must order:

冰啤酒
bīng píjiǔ
cold beer

That phrase got me a cold beer most of the time, “cold” being relative of course (repeat after me, “this is China!”).

Today, my Chinese tutor, Lǐ lǎoshī (teacher Li), taught me the “survival Chinese” version of that handy-dandy expression.

不冰不给钱!
bù bīng bù gěi qién!
“no cold, no give money!”

Not only does Lǐ lǎoshī have a sense of humor, she really understands what I mean by “survival” Chinese!

As Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. And don’t forget the cold beer, dude.”

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In other news, rescued Chilean miners say they passed the time by playing #minecraft but couldn’t get past the lava.

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